I am missing

November 29, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

There once was a me
I knew

But you died and took me
with you.

In place of me, a new
confused thing will do

Strange things like
hoard your every shoe.

The earth you walked,
the dirt you knew

Stained on the bottom
of a boot no one else can have
but you.

But you, not here, left me to hide
those shoes.

Your quirky socks I wear,
Will they walk my feet to you?

The wise old owl of me used to have
the redwood tree of you

A tall and lanky perch
from which to view

The shirking prey, the darkest night, the darting truth.
Tell me, my guru,

What now? What can I do
without the branches of you?

"Stop," you say,
to choose

For I left, but I am not gone," you say.
"And I have news for you.

I am more than tree.
I am all colors, spirit-hewed.

Stop denying that same is true for you.

I promise, my owl
Everything you need, you already have
deep, deep, deep inside of you.

Go plant a new tree,
the tree of you.

Please believe me, you would
If you could see you as I do.

Strong as stalwart, as in your youth
Firmly-planted, leaves true blue.

There is no way out of this
You must go through."

But I am blind, wing-bound.
My vision slight, talons eschew.
I cannot be as I was once used to.

I am missing,
I am missing,
I am misssing

I am missing,
I am missing,
I am missing
me, too.


Frida and field trips

October 10, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Last night, I lost it. Like properly. Like big, ugly tears. I couldn't see and I couldn't stop.

Last week, just a few minutes before leaving my therapy session, I lost it. Less ugly - there was someone watching, after all. But no less big and broken.

I broke down during those particular instances NOT because Kelly has died and is dead. Well, not directly.

Last week at therapy, I cried because my therapist asked me to identify some heroes for an exercise we are doing. I said Frida Kahlo almost immediately and when she said why, I choked on my sudden tears. I said because of her immense suffering and her wild power and her fucking resilience in the face of extreme tragedy and her ability and dogged determination to learn to paint and express herself from that place of persistence and pain.

I cried because I realized I had actually just described Kelly.

"Anger" an early prototype of a tarot card for a deck Kelly was flirting with making

Last night, I cried because I got an email from Bowie's school saying I wasn't picked to chaperone Bowie's first Kindergarten field trip. I not only wanted to go see a play with her, but I also wanted to make sure she was taken care of in the special way she needs right now (Kindergarten has been a tough for bathroom times). And for some reason, getting an email from her teacher saying, "I will take care of Bowie" made me weep. And then I wept for teachers who answer fucking emails all hours of the day after spending every ounce of energy on kids. And then I wept for the people affected by the California fires. And then I wept for the victims in Las Vegas and their families and friends...for Puerto Rico, for Spain, for Mexico, Houston, for women and minorities (and our climate!) in America under this President. And then I wept for this planet and the end of everything, how the knowledge that everyone I love will die means something different to me now and how it feels less hopeless but more deeply, deeply sad. And then I wept because there is so little time to get our life's work done and I've been wasting it. And then I wept because I am grief-tired and didn't mean to waste it and felt judged by myself.

And then I wept for Kelly and for how she was so much of my daily living and guide toward mystical lands and hand-holder on the mutually paced path of self-discovery and maker of massive salads and bringer of green smoothies and wearer of billowy skirts with combat boots and speaker of truth in the dark and preserver of privacy and believer in mother and then, and then...

sitting in the hot bath with cold tears running down my face,
I remembered when she told me that she thought I was doing it right. That I was a good mother.

That's when I lost it.
I wept for me.

For me, for me, for me. For Bowie not getting to know Kelly as an adult. For Kelly not being here to help me with my sacred altar. For all the new ways I'm required to be that I don't want to be.

And I didn't want to stay there because I didn't want to feel sorry for myself, surely other people's loss is greater - Brad, Kathy, Jay, surely it's not my place to feel sorry for myself, look at how beautiful a death we were given, look at the life she lived, look how I got to love her, look how rich this soil is, look at how much more color the world has, look, look, look!

But I couldn't lift my chin this time.
I couldn't look up
I couldn't look at other people's sorrow anymore. I could only see mine.
I didn't go looking for her in my tarot deck or the night sky.

And it was time to face the me part of the grief. Weeping for little Candace, young, pitiful, incensed, raging and indignant. I thought of Bowie wailing about a necklace she lost and I imagined what it would be like to so unabashedly express loss.

Likely, it looks just like this.


Where she lives now.

August 23, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

I feel myself coming back to life,
if that's what you want
to call it. Life.

Seems like a massive stretch.
I resist and resent it.
I don't want to start putting the broken pieces back together
When your physical form isn't one of those pieces.
I'd rather stay shattered.

I said I could never go on
without you; here I am
Going on.

I scry into this crystalline ball of murk,
a cocktail of guilt, anxiety, exhaustion, and excitement.

There are a lot of faces here.
They speak.
Where is mine? Where is my voice? Will I find it
without you here, megaphoning my voice back to me always
Gently holding, fiercely protecting, lovingly knowing
my desperate, soul-shattering need for solitude.

I scry into the eyes of women
new and old
and see such deep, knowledgeable, wild
pain. So comforting, reassuring
that you are still close.

My spirit rages against my ribs, tearing its own flesh since it has no garment to shred from its corpus.
But the anger has also taken a rest.
Now the fear, the fear that as the days go by, you'll begin to fade.
Writing that last line, "you'll begin to fade"' that's what finally got me crying again, after days and days.

I keep thinking about the title of a book that I might read.
"After the Ecstasy, the Laundry."
The what's next after we shared a moment standing at the veil and you held my face before you parted the curtain and said, "Find me in your imagination. I will always live there."

I took your hands, blew into them my owlwind, and trilled for you. Releasing you, yelling go.

And then you slipped through a white, gauze-like curtain.
But I lied, I didn't want you to go. I don't want you to go.
Please, don't go.

You did.
So now what?

The tears, after days of dryness.
Sweet, welcome
The tears remind me of your hands again
holding my face.
And pointing me inward
to the you and me that is not under threat, scrutiny, admiration, interpretation, or definition.

"Find me in your imagination," you whisper again.
I ask the deck, where the fuck do you live now?
She says back "in your imagination."

So you've taken up residence in the most creative space of my inner self. Okay.

Truth sayer,
Miracle maker,
Heart breaker,
Death slayer,
I hear you. I hear you with my ancient owl heart and repeat it back.

Pursue yourself.
Pursue yourself.
Pursue yourself.
Pursue yourself.

That's where you live now.



The story of your death day

August 16, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Later, I want to tell you the story of your Death Disco - how surprisingly beautiful it was for us all. But for now, I leave this here, the transcript of the story I told, the story of your glorious death day.

Photo by Kelly Clark: "Five Things Friday

"Join me in this sacred space as I tell the story of Kelly’s beautiful crossing over into the mysterious afterworld. For us, it was a day drenched in joy and wonder. The days afterward held considerably less that that, but on that one magical day in July - we were rebirthed by death.

It is my strong hope that you too will be given new life by bearing witness to this story.


When you took your last breath of this planet’s oxygen, I was in the back seat of my car with another man.

That "man" is your 1-year-old nephew, Roscoe. Your sisters Aubrey and Laurel, who Joel and I had just retrieved from the airport, were inside a store we’d stopped at en route to your home.

Joel was in the front seat when his phone rang. It was our Allison and I still don’t know the exact words she said, but Joel hung up 30 seconds later and I said, “What?”

“Kelly’s dead.”

The news, so perfunctory and unceremoniously delivered felt like the one time a Shaman used a massive owl wing to blow air onto my back and my face. The eerily powerful owlwind of you had washed over me.

I knew there was a reason I didn’t wear mascara that day. Kelly, I don’t think I ever will again. No, that’s a lie. I will and we will discuss it, forever. Because our particular flavor of soul contract was made of old wisdom, the worship of curiosity, attraction to mystery and self-knowing, the love of a well put together outfit, and eye makeup.

It was such a beautiful, hot July day and I had the car windows down. Joel got out of the car to intercept your sisters and I heard the most holy, sacred curse bellow from Aubrey.

"GodFuckingDamn it," she screamed, clawed her belly, and bent over.

Laurel was stunned silent, frozen, a hand covered her mouth, grasping for the impossible breath.


About a half an hour after you passed, we pulled up to your house after what felt like the longest drive of my life. Your dad was sitting on the steps, ready to receive us. I quickly hugged this man I had never met but always knew, left him to greet his daughters, and made a B-line for you.

I ran into Allison, who was rose-colored with pain and also hugged her but couldn’t linger even for a second as those long-ass tendrils of your crone hands grew from the bedroom down the hall into roots and vines around the corner, winding around my heels and neck - pulling me into your death embrace.

I crawled onto your bed and grabbed your face and Oh! Oh! I was so happy for you. I kept whispering in your ear, “I’m so happy for you, I’m so happy for you, You did it! You are so brave. Oh this is so interesting!”

I wailed, so says Robin - though I didn’t hear it and it wasn’t even nearly as loud as it needed to be. I kissed your soft skin and whispered to you.

I worshiped this ultimate act of self-love, to know and trust that this is for you and for you alone and everyone you were worried about and holding onto this life for - that we are all going to be okay - we will take care of each other as you orchestrated.

Brad stood up from his seat at your right, and I grabbed your hand. I held it forever, kissing it for so long. Noting that we needed to do your nails.

I grabbed a file. I knew we wanted to prepare your body for the last most important event of your life, your death day...and as you told me, you needed to look good.


It was time to call the women to us. After a few hours, they all arrived. We all wanted to spend time with you, bearing witness to this moment. I also felt you wanted time with us, for us to see and be and love on a Kelly free of that GodFuckingDamnit cancer.  

We celebrated, and continue to celebrate, your liberation from: ketogenic diets, chemo x 3, broken back bones, lymph-edema, radiation, deep fatigue, crippling anxiety, persistent nausea, no appetite, not being able to breath.

And yet that body still felt so impossible to let go of.

Because despite all it had not done for you and for us, it was also so glorious, always poised and stretchy and confident and perky and olive-skinned, willowy, strong, and whole.

As I filed your nails, there was a moment we got to be alone. You asked me to play "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" and I was like, “Really??” And you were like, "Yes bitch."

I laughed, and we hung out with Lauryn.

And soon the ritual began.

Your mother brushed your hair and put lavender oil in it - clipping a small locket of hair for keepsake. We wandered your property for botanicals and flowers. I put them all in a pot of water in your creme-colored Le Creuset dutch oven - which you loved.

We steeped the petals and herbs and foliage to make your holy water - scented with lavender, fern, pine, sage. Your mother cut the shirt your were wearing off (that fucking neon shirt) and we tore it up to use for washing rags. Using your carefully curated mug collection, we dipped our mugs into the water and dipped the cloth into the mugs and washed you as we cried and passed around a bottle of whiskey.

"We should sing," someone said. But what? Does anyone have any song?

And another said. “Sea of love” and we laughed because why that? But it was perfect. And then we sang “Sea of love.” And as our voices sang “Come with me, my love, to the sea, the sea of love. I want to tell you how much I love you.” And then “dream a little dream of me” as a prayer to you to please visit us from wherever you must go.

And as our voices floated out the open window above your head to so you to began to float in bliss. Women, singing as they work, women singing over the bones as they have done for generations.


After you were washed, we put alternating umber and white colored dots around your eyes, your afterworld makeup mask. We put this gorgeous red warrior stripe down the down the center of your lips.

Kelly, you loved it. We could all feel how INTO it you were.

We soaked small California poppy petals, fushia petals, and sage leaves in oil and make a necklace of them at your collarbone and around your belly button. We poured lavender, frankincense, and cypress oil all over your feet, hands, legs, belly, torso, collar bone, arms, and hands. Oh how we indulged in those expensive oils, pouring and pouring. And the room, oh the room smelled so amazing.

We tucked masses of fresh lavender and  bee balm under your neck and head - bright pink palms of petals that looked almost like earrings. Between your torso and arms we tucked hydrangea and echinacea. On your head was a crown made of ivy and cedar leaves.

We wept softly still, as the ancient hands made ready this vessel which had housed the soul and spirit of the woman we loved. Who loved us. There was such joy in the room that we got to be all together like this.

We painted your middle fingernails only, so you could return to earth with a great big fuck you to cancer.

"Middle fingers up, bitches,” I heard you say with a laugh.


We finished getting you ready and called in the men, who placed a crown of ferns at your head and sage leaves at your feet and hands. You were ready.

We then opened a bottle of champagne to toast you, pouring a few drops in your lips and belly button. We rang the singing bowl three times. Oh how goddess-like you were, like Titania, the queen of the fairies.

We hugged, we laughed, we wept, someone put food and drink in us, we made such irreverent jokes and you were there, bounding around in curiosity, excitement, and love.

We lingered there.

And then it was time. We wailed. I fell to the ground on my knees and saw nothing but heard the young innocent cries around me. All of the children inside of us, all of the growing young women, the middle aged women, and our ancient crones...they all wept and wept and wept.

Through this sea of tears, you were carried into ancestry. As if the swell of our wailing waves propel you to the ancient ones.

Eventually, the wailing died down and we gradually began to come and go out of the room. In my time with you, I kissed your hands and studied your left arm - the tattoo too long covered by a sleeve. Hatch - it said.

I studied the markings, wanting to make myself drunk on you. Knowing I would never again behold this earthy visage.

The holy water cooked in your favorite Le Crueset dutch oven.

Jess's hand dipping into the holy water


At sunset, the call was made to have your body taken from us. Four of us sat in the room with you as they wrapped you in soft white cloth and placed you tenderly into a beautiful red velvet bag. I was nervous that this part would be gruesome, but it too was beautiful. They lovingly left your death outfit on, and we sent you with a great horned owl wing feather and a piece of danburite.

We walked out behind you ringing a bell and beating three drums, your funeral mourners. Yet, it didn’t feel sad to me, it felt sacred. Like the absolute holiest ground I’ve ever walked on. As they placed you in the car, we put a braid of sweetgrass on your head, and kept drumming as you drove away - kept playing until we couldn’t see the car anymore.

Photo by Kelly Clark 

And you, you eternal cowgirl...true to form, you rode off into the sunset.


Many hours and much whiskey later, we burned every GodFuckingDamnit cancer book in the house we could find. And with it, we burned away the cancer from you, from Brad, from the house, from us all. Cancer's grip on you fell into ashes at our feet. 

Be well, bird."


4 weeks: Grief as amniotic fluid and raging rivers

August 11, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Kel -

You took your last breath 4 weeks ago today. Since then, we've grown close in your new form, and I feel a crippling amount of gratitude for this gift.

MaryBeth did a pull for us every night that first week, and girl! You came through (which feels so appropriate, you always loved tarot and are the one who made it okay for me)!

Your message is clear: WRITE.

Write and write and write and write. Write into the confusion, into the dark, into the distracting parts of it. MB said to create from this grief, maybe think of grief as my amniotic fluid holding me as I transform into the new me, as my synapses rewire.

And I ask, how do I climb into that birthplace? How can I access that place where all life begins? But I see and hear that I am, in fact, already there. So what can I do except pick up a pen and write.

The last great moment we had was this beautiful afternoon where Tice, Niki, Brad, Joel, Robin, and I were gathered on your bed making jokes. You told one! Your eyes remained closed and breath was precious gold, but you spent it to say, "Cortez! Make me a damn quesadilla." Of course, it was hilarious. You always have been.

I rubbed your feet. You wanted to be touched, always. The sweetness of it broke my heart. Tice picked up your guitar and started playing little bits of songs here and there. We were so scared, we didn't know what to do. But he followed his true self (which, you would definitely say, is always the right thing to do) and in that moment, the music was everything.

The tune landed on "Harvest Moon" by Neil Young, which Brad immediately trolled Tice for it. We all laughed, but it was actually so, so, so perfect. His and Niki's voices lulled us into the quiet place. Your face suddenly began to twist and I felt my heart jump with worry that you were in pain, that we were disturbing you.

But you weren't in pain. We weren't disturbing you. You began to cry, overcome with emotion - no doubt a mix of fear and love.

You said in the sweetest voice that I will never forget, "I love you all so much."


When things began to feel normal again, I felt like I was finally coming up for air after so many breathless weeks, weeks of being beaten around by rapids on the most punishing, unsympathetic of rivers while trying to stay afloat on a raft punctured on every side.

The ride has stopped and we've disembarked. Thank fuck that's over  - we all say to each other in shock, disheveled and beaten up. Checking to make sure everyone is okay.

But shit, we landed in the upside down world. I don't want to breath here, the air feels toxic. Can we go back? Let's make a new boat.

If I swim upstream
If I fall into the sky
If I eat water
If I stay awake all night and sleep all day
If I do everything backward...

Will it bring you back?

But the river,
the river is gone.

For now, I will lie in the pasture of my shriveled soul
Hug my lover
Kiss my child
And send a lantern to help you find
the new you.


How to establish boundaries with the dead.

July 24, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Hello 39, welcome
to Hell. I go
in a new kimono.

One mourning dove reminds us
"This is it. We are in the nightmare," she says.

If that is so, then here in the dark side of our dreams,
the gin glows.
Big chunks of labordite gifted by the dead now become the gin's rocks.
Take the stones, drop them
in your drink.
In nightmareland, you eat the earth
she bounded on, anything to be close to her bones again.

Like the aboveworld, you carve time
out for yourself, but still in Hell you are.
You try to take a break
from grief, for self-care,
to visit the land of the before times.
Tell it, "okay stay outside while I get a massage."

Have you ever had to practice boundaries with the dead?

Grief is a clueless, needy extrovert,
a friend with no sense of solitude.
Gregarious as fuck.
No, you cannot come over unannounced
I'd prefer if you texted before occupying every synapse, bronchioli, and eyelash.
Still, Hell

I'm taking up residence here.
The rent is goddamned
expensive, but the views
oh the panoraming, expansical, multiversalicious view.

Dear Dove,
What are you now?

Are you the steam coming up from the mug you gave me?
Are you the smell of chamomile and lavender?
Are you the lightdance dabbling across my journal's white pages?
Are you the Mexican blanket shrouding my head?
Are you that cobweb, my cat, this air, this palm plant, that flicker?
Are you god?

I know you are new to it,
still learning how to be in this afterplace.
But when you figure out how to, will you please send the answers?
And also, your new address?

I'll be watching.

~your wise old owl



July 09, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Little pink flip flops
Big green oxygen machines

New Prada sunglasses
Pirate eye patches

I have so much to tell you when you return to yourself.

I bought some lilies to plant
I weeded the dogwood bed
I signed up for a writing class
The raspberries you transplanted are bearing
The weird plant I didn't know what it was? It's fushia! Kelly, it's fucking fushia.

You're having trouble breathing
My lungs burn with my own breath
How dare it continue in plenty when you feel it in scarcity.
So I make it share.
I grab the deepestgoddamned breath I can
And exhale in your direction. A galeforce of life.
In those moments, am I breathing for you?

I have this desire to dip my fingers into claymud
Wipe black stripes on my cheeks
Approach the darkness as one of its own
war paint sacred

We all feel so shitty unless we are in your physical presence. We are disembodied until you somehow reunite ourselves with our own souls. What sorcery is this? You, always magic AF.

Oh how desperately I ache to take you away with me when I leave your house. To go west, to the salt water. To go shopping, to walk around the plant nursery, to have you stand at my counter and chop strawberries. Oh how guilty I feel to walk into my home and feel so safe when you are so scared.

Stand up.
Stand up.
Stand up.
Stand up.

Summer, meet cancer.
Cancer meet Life.


Bowie Andromeda, 5 year old slideshow

June 30, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Happy 5th Birthday, Goose.


"I will take the sun into my mouth"

June 22, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

what is this feeling?
like i could take on the world
like the world could take me down

this inching up to the fear, fearing it
and this wide open wingspan holding all the world's fear, everywhere

seeing flying specs of matter with my side-eye
that vanish when i try to look right at them

this both holding and caring for
and being held, being cared for

like a child screaming 'hold me' yanking at the legs of her mother
i make demands, bowing to the body of the nothingeverything that is out there.

seeing nothing but the threat to Kelly's breath, my scope narrowed to pinpoint
while glimpsing it all, the expanse vast from where i stand above the earth

hands that can do nothing
hands that can do everything

stripped naked


who. what. where am i
in the middle of this?

i am water
and vital.
safe and scary.
blue with clarity, black with depth.
i contain multitudes of beating hearts that eat each other.

i am paradox. i am poem.

Courage, dear heart.


I will wade out
Till my thighs are steeped
In burning flowers

I will take the sun in my mouth
And leap into the ripe air
Alive with closed eyes
To dash against darkness

In the sleeping curves of my body
Shall enter fingers
Of smooth mastery

With chasteness of sea gulls
Will I complete the mystery
Of my flesh.

Of my flesh.
My flesh.

-Bjork "Sun in my mouth"


There's always more.

June 15, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

A tsunami has begun to form. We stand at the receding shoreline, desperate to change what we fear might be the impending future, watching the water rise in the too-close distance. It's hard to see anything good anymore. We feel helpless, unable to shhh the ocean floor like we'd calm a baby, our hands are instead full of other hands, the hands of our gathered beloveds, standing chained together by the light of her.

Good. Bad. Whatever is to come, we cannot stop it. That hasn't changed. That will never change.

Fear mounts, but so do we. We saddle up our weary but persistent souls, curious about the unknown trek. There is every hope, but still, we are scared. More scared than ever before. Breathing like we are being chased by a predator, yet there is no threat to fight. We have no weapons to pick up, no ground upon which to stand.

We wish for physical combat instead. Would expelling our bodies' energy make it easier to exist in this pain? I look at us, my friends, I see our riot gear, but we've been abandoned by our opposers. Dumbfounded by the total, utter absence of an enemy.

Are we knocking at the last door?

What will happen? What will happen? What will happen? Sticking, repetitive, answer-less questions.

Is it the end of the world?

Last week, we received some seismic-shifting news about Kelly. The cancer isn't responding to targeted treatment, so the doctors want to go wide. There is fluid in her lungs (well, until they extracted it a few days ago), a new inflammation on the liver. Chemo is back on the table. We await scan results. It's scary news, but that's all it is. It's not a prognosis. Not by a long shot.

It's hard to walk the line between being a good friend (trying to read what she needs so we aren't demanding that she always know what she needs in every given second, supporting her without smothering her, not demand that she comfort us right now, protecting her boundaries), and being good to yourself (letting yourself feel it all, investing in solitude, pursuing ease, protecting your boundaries). I have walked around in a daze the last few days. I can't focus and I don't really care about anything else. My world has stopped and yet, I can't say why. She is here, I can call her, I can drive to her house, I can hear her custom owl-hoot-hoot text tone interrupt a corporate meeting, making me smirk for the collision of the two worlds.

Here's what I am finding comfort in:

The moment. I have her. She is here.

Music. Oh music - it can reach inside places and shift everything. I helps me feel both the weight and the weightlessness of the situation...the always persistent cosmos...the gorgeous, fleeting, terrible human experience...all of it.

Writing. I decided Friday morning when the news first came in that I needed to write (and probably go back to seeing a therapist regularly as this is likely beyond my scope) for no other reason than it's the only only fucking thing I CAN do. I know the power words possess to shake up our the way we act and behave, how they help us find our way back into the bravery we were born with, and how they can remind us to marry the inner and external self - in ourselves and in others.

Because with humans, what you see (even when you see with your third eye) is never, ever what you get.

There's always more.
There's always more.
There's always more.
There's always more.
There's always more.
There's always more.

There's always more.
There's always more.
There's always more.

There's always more.
There's always more.
There's always more.


One room.

May 18, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

I am in the middle of vacating a home. This particular room, though now empty of things, contains multitudes:

My sister sleeping on a futon while my niece slobbers on the TV screen with her hands as she steadies her newly-walking self.

Emily and I crying while we watch "Wuthering Heights."

Painting the room cathedral gray.

Making it my very first studio, my me-only space to read and write.

Sitting staring out the window, watching Joel garden. Separate togetherness.

One drunken night when we newly discovered, and filmed me dancing to, an ABC song.

Slowing morphing it into a room for a baby.

The first time Joel put Bowie in her crib, 3 months after she was born, and ready to move out of the bassinet right next to our bed.

Nursing Bowie in the early morning hours, staring out at the dead-but-always-fruiting pear tree (oh
how I will miss that tree).

Sister back for a visit, sleeping on a mattress on the floor after a drunken Madonna concert.

Bowie moving out of this room into her big girl room - me reoccupying it eagerly.

Kelly, setting up shop in here even though it's way too small for a big working table. Just because we wanted to be in the same room, working. Separate togetherness.

The great book purge of 2015, when I decided that I was done with the men of antiquity dominating the shelves.

Standing outside the closed doorway for countless amounts of cumulative minutes, listening to Bowie cry. Should I go in? Should I stay out? Motherhood's eternal question.

KJK picking up my camera to snap a beautiful moment as I fed Bowie - me so grateful someone captured it.

House guests sleeping on a variety of makeshift bed combinations - Jackie and the kids sardined in,
in-laws during the first days of Bowie's life, my mom lots of times, friends and family always.

 And that afternoon light. Oh the afternoon light.

So many mantras scribbled on paper and posted as reminders. Many revelatory tarot pulls. Tons of the deepest yoga breaths.

Smudging for the eradication of cancer, for the clearing of toxicity, for the fragrant cleansing.

All in the smallest room of the house... a room of my very own.


Especially write.

March 28, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

How do you know your own thoughts? Do they come to you freely or do they fight for your time? Do you hear them when you are occupied elsewhere with dishes or watering plants, are you in conversation with yourself when you look at the sky or when you drive home? When you hear them, are you sure they are your own?

I spend a lot of time reflecting, which is important to me. But I also don't usually talk about those thoughts or write them out. I am in my head, often stuck there unless I can either do yoga, go to therapy, or write. Especially write.

These activities keep me from spinning out - or at least help me spin out with intention.

I was doing luminary sessions with the this ball of light (seriously, five sessions have shifted me in ways I never knew possible), but even a "therapy" session isn't exactly spending time with myself - with my voice alone. Writing has always been this for me. Not nature, not long walks, not staring at the ocean - those all help, but my thoughts run too fast and too free for me to hear them well. And that's fine. Not all thoughts are meant to be pinned down - and many will flee for fear of capture.

But when the thoughts that want to be unpacked come along, the best treatment I can give them is writing. However, like any writer, I absolutely abhor doing it. And yet I ache for it at the same time, the simplicity of purging on page, of making my mind slow to match the pace of my hand.

On Sunday, I opened my journal to write and realized how long it had been since I had written anything for myself. There are many good and valid reasons for that, but I also realized that when I am disconnected with writing, I'm also disconnected from the conduit to myself.

Things change so fast. This time last week, I was happily plodding along in the day-to-day, thinking about my upcoming trips to Mexico and Hawaii (both happening in April!).

Then Friday afternoon, we put in an offer on a house - our 6th offer. Our search for a house has spanned the last 1.5 years, and frankly - I'm detached from the whole thing. Later that evening, during our family viewing of "The Lego Movie," I looked down at my phone and saw that the house status was moved to pending. This has happened before, so I told Joel, "Oh, this went pending. Too bad."

But then our realtor called Joel. While still on the phone, Joel threw me an animated thumbs up that looked sarcastic. But then he got off the phone and told me the news; we'd won the bid. Surprised and a bit in shock, we resumed our movie. We spent the weekend in a little bubble of bliss - peacefully looking at Pinterest boards for new furniture and casually plotting out the house to see what could fit where, what projects needed doing, etc. I wasn't stressed, though I was still in disbelief. I think I still am.

But Monday hit hard. Calls to escrow companies, transferring monies...just a lot of little details coming at me. In the meantime, I have to think about packing and saying goodbye to this beautiful house - which will be a significant source of grief. Plus, our April plans haven't changed. We very well may be signing papers in Maui. Who are we and what have we done to ourselves?

When will we move? How will we tell our landlord? Will I take my raspberry bush? Are the old bookshelves coming with us? Should we sell the old bar tables? Will the couch fit in the new place? Where will the paintings go? When the heck am I supposed to pack? Will we still buy a new mattress? How will the cat adjust? Should we retire the bedroom set neither of us really like? What will the utility bill be at the new place? What will it be like to drive Bowie to school from there? Are we in over our heads?

To keep myself from choking on the excitement, anxiety, and to-do lists - I've decided to journal every day in April. Nothing fancy, nothing profound. Even if it's just lists and lists. I don't want to lose myself in this process and be so caught up that I can't enjoy it.

As I sat on my yoga mat this morning, like every morning, trying to invite my monkey brain to rest, I wondered - if I can slow down for just even 5-10 minutes per day to observe - will there be uncovered richness in these details? What could I learn about myself? What if I didn't try to slog through it through but instead gave myself permission to thrive amidst the chaos?

A mantra has been ringing in my ears since my coworker shared it with me last week,"Don't do more. Resist less."

There is no right way to be Candace in April of 2017. There is no planning myself out of this mess. It's time to be. It's time to resist less.

I have no idea what it looks like to stop resisting. None.
I'll let you know.


the time in between bath and bed, and the ROI of parenting

February 06, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Bear with me here, I have like 20 minutes to write this (but it's a new practice in unfiltered writing).

Joel gives Bowie her baths, as part of our carefully constructed and always tenuous "share the work" agreement. In a not too uncommon, unplanned twist of events, I supervised the child bath. I usually distract myself by cleaning the sink, scrubbing my makeup brushes, or playing with how to create a cut crease on a hooded eye.

If I don't occupy myself with these things, I'll reach for my phone - which I do try to avoid. I hate the idea of a picture Bowie's forming in her head of her mother with a device always in front of her face, but it is what it is. I'm over judging myself for it...which is entirely different than giving up the fight. But that's a different blog.

Tonight, she caught my attention because, in the interim between the last bath I supervised and tonight's bath...a few weeks, a month maybe?...she could completely submerge her head in the water and hold her breath for five seconds.

It shocked me because, just this last summer, she would barely even put her face in the water, much less have the skill and agency to do it herself.

And in the 'in between' time of the evening (the time where Joel is reading Bowie stories and I am just finishing up the dishes, lighting the twilight candles, and pouring myself another glass) all my thoughts from the day come rushing at me. Today, one of those thoughts swimming in the sea of political murk and hope was the ROI of parenting.

For those of you lucky people who have never worked in a corporate setting, ROI means return on investment...the reward, the sign that all the rigor you put forward and risk you took in the beginning of your endeavor is starting to pay off, and your back to making money instead of shelling it out. (Disclaimer: this may be a reductive definition, I sure as hell am not spend my in between time opening up a tab and looking up ROI on Wikipedia...I do that shit all day long for real work).

The ROI of parenting...

Bowie's drawing after watching the Women's March on Washington.

It's odd how good I felt about Bowie dunking her head in the bath water, like the super smug kind of good. Yep, I am shelling out money and time for swim lessons because someone told me that responsible, healthy, enlightened parents teach their kids how to swim...and here I am seeing a total return on that.

She's making tangible, provable progress toward a goal of becoming another amphibious human.

It's working! I am winning at parenting. She won't drown!

It felt especially good because she drove me crazy today - we've hit the sassy phase, plus she's playing with all kinds of learned helplessness that triggers me. Today of all days, I was grasping for ways my parenting is "working." The swimming thing felt good. Was there more ways I was winning?

And then I stopped short at that cold question. Was I really looking for an ROI on something as unquantifiable as a relationship between mother and child?

Damn you, age of reason! (FIST)
And oh thank you, age of reason. (SIGH). But that's a different blog.

There is very little data or feedback in parenting. And in a society that...I'll let a friend explain it:

...ours is a society that honors and celebrates the mind {the masculine, intellect, drive, mental toughness, and so on}, but neglects and, often times, rejects the sweet balance that the heart provides {the feminine, empathy, compassion, strength through vulnerability, introspection, creativity, and so on}."

Yeah, in that kind of society - I have to remember to invite the feminine voice along too. To ask my heart what it thinks of my parenting, too...since it has such a different set of data points. 

Bowie's not going to give me proof because she's not an experiment. She's not here to teach me how to be a better parent or help me undo the damage done to me. That's my job. 

She's not here for any other purpose than to live out her soul's work. I hope to be one of the people clearing the runway for her to do it. 


Year in photos, 2016

January 11, 2017 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Year in Photos 2016 by candace-morris

I usually publish this video slideshow of the year on New Year's Day. But this time, it took me a bit longer. I don't think that was an accident, either. I think the truth is that 2016 broke my heart in so many ways on so many levels, and I didn't want to go through the good stuff; I didn't want my mind to be changed; I just wanted 2016 to be the fuck over.

But every single time I create one of these slideshows, I relive every memory, every small moment that - when captured - seems insignificant. But set to music and bookmarked by many other small moments - each minute becomes so damn beautiful.

I'm so thankful to be alive. To have Joel and Bowie. To have a community of friends that I would die for. To have family who knows me. To have money for big and little things. To have freedom to shave my head if I want to.

So this is my peace offering to 2016. May she rest in peace.